Shift Happens! Things change
All has been going really well with the publication of my new book, about project risk management, scheduled for July 2011.
One small fly in the ointment, that’s all…
We’ve changed the name.
Let me tell you the story.
One day, just before Christmas
As I was putting the finishing touches to my text and contemplating starting work on the figures, I got an email out of the blue.
It’s nice to know people are aware of your work, but less so, when the email comes ready-copied to a firm of US lawyers. We Brits rarely resort to legal threats: not so some folk in the US, it seems. The stereotype of the dash to litigate has been endorsed. I was threatened with legal action if I went ahead with publication of a book called Shift Happens! This was despite the fact that there are already a load of books by that name.
After replying courteously, I got no response. Nice touch. I supressed my “cliché instinct” to believe:
“no news is good news”
and engaged my risk management response of:
“no news is no evidence”
Consulting my publisher, we decided to err on the side of caution. I don’t think there was any chance of confusion in the market-place, but I wasn’t going to literally bet the house on it. We’ve changed the name. It’s a risk appetite thing.
Good news and bad news
The good news is that Risk Happens! may just be a better title – thank you un-named provocateur. It will do better in searches, and that matters these days.
The first bit of bad news is that I’m not as keen on the title – semantically, it isn’t quite right and these things matter to me. I will always know that “risk exists” and “that risks are realised” are semantically better. And I know that I have been using the phrase “shift happens!” since the mid 1990s.
The second bit of bad news is that this provides one more sad piece of evidence that “might (in the form of a US law firm) is right” and tactics that felt, to me, like bullying were able to succeed.
The “so what?”
Writing a book about risk is not without risk, it seems. But I choose to to go with Juliet on this one:
“O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;”
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2